Does Japan have strict hearsay rules?

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The skillful examination and cross-examination of witnesses is an important part of any successful lawsuit but equally important is the presentation of documentary and physical evidence. Notes, photos and other pieces of evidence can have a powerful impact on the judge’s view of the case when presented at the right time and in the right way.

The presentation of hearsay evidence, evidence that is not a “first hand” account, is often limited but in civil cases in Japan the hearsay rules are not as strict as they are in American courts. This means that hearsay evidence (or second-hand information) that would not be allowed as evidence in America may sometimes be presented in a Japanese civil lawsuit. However, although hearsay evidence is allowed to be presented, Japanese judges will give that evidence less weight than solid testimony from a first-hand witness.

If you have questions about litigation in Japan, please contact our office for a legal consultation.